Although John McCartney never won a Scottish cap, perhaps because of half-back competition, certainly due to a bar on Anglo-Scots for most of his career, he has one quasi-claim to footballing fame. Whilst he was not a member of Liverpool's first ever team, that of the Macs, he was one of the thirteen Scots to have been brought to the Merseyside club on its foundation in 1892, and soon stepped up, playing twenty-one times in the campaign that followed.
And he was to remain a Liverpool stalwart for six years, known for the hardness of his tackle, leaving the club in 1898. By then he had racked up one hundred and sixty-six appearances, thirty or so in four of the seasons.
John McCartney had arrived at Anfield as a John McKenna recruit. He had previously played for Newmilns and then had spent two seasons in Paisley at St. Mirren. But his birth had been in neither. Like his father, William, a muslin/cotton/lace weaver, he was Darvel-born, in 1870, one of twelve children, although his mother, Catherine, did hail from neighbouring Newmilns. On leaving Anfield he went on to play for two seasons at New Brighton Tower and then returned, albeit slightly circuitously, not to his father's village but to his mother's, by 1901 his parents and siblings having moved there. And there he seems to have remained for the rest of his life.
In 1911 he was staying with his brother and his wife, another brother and what is described as a 13 year-old nephew at 28, Riverbank St., working as a lace-curtain worker and listed as a widower. In fact that same year he was to remarry in the town, to Margaret Morton. And in 1921 they were at 64, Jamieson Terrace, with two children, 23 year-old John Jnr, the "nephew" of a decade earlier, born in Liverpool, and 9 year-old William, Darvel-born, which mean that John Snr. had indeed had a family on Merseyside. It turns out that in 1897 he had married Liverpool-born Florence Ormisher, their son also born there the following year but she seems to have died, in 1903, aged about thirty and not in England but on Bridge St., Galston. There John seems temporarily to have been running the Green Hotel. He was a publican, just as he had been recorded in Liverpool two years earlier.
That was before the two Johns were to move permanently back, two miles up the valley and remain. John McCartney Jnr., John Ormisher McCartney, would die in Newmilns in 1981, William, his half-brother, also there in 2000. By then their father had already been dead almost half a century, passing peacefully in his chair at home again in the village, recorded not as a pioneer of what is now one of Europe's most admired teams but as a simple lace-worker, retired. The year was 1951, not 1942 as often reported. That year had seen the death of his wife, Mary, with her and the other's burial-places as yet unknown but unlikely to be far from their roots.
1871 - Darvel??
1921 - 64, Jamieson Terrace, Loudoun Road, Newmilns
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